Merrimack College dorm under quarantine after 17 students test positive for COVID-19

NORTH ANDOVER, MASS. (WHDH) - All students living in a dorm on the campus of Merrimack College in North Andover have been told to quarantine after more than a dozen tested positive for the coronavirus.

A college spokesperson announced at 8 a.m. Tuesday that residential students living in Monican Hall would quarantine following five positive cases that were identified from the dorm.

At 5 p.m., an additional 11 residents of Monican Hall tested positive for the coronavirus, the spokesperson added. These 16 cases followed a single positive case in the dorm identified last week, bringing the total number of cases to 17 over the past seven days.

“The College considers the number of positive cases in Monican Hall concerning, and is moving aggressively through its protocols of contact tracing, isolation and quarantining to minimize the effect on the campus and community,” the college said in a press release. “We prepared for this, and we will do everything possible to stop the spread and minimize any impact. We do expect more positives as a result of our aggressive testing of Monican students and will follow our protocols if that happens.”

Of the 266 Monican Hall residents, more than 250 decided to quarantine off-campus as of 7 p.m., the spokesperson said. The remaining residents are quarantining in campus-designated spaces.

“Before we all moved on campus, Merrimack made us make departure plans,” sophomore Gab Gervais said. “I know a couple of my friends decided they were going to go home.”

Monican Hall is empty and being professionally disinfected before anyone moves back in.

No students in the other residence halls have tested positive for the virus since Sept. 11, the spokesperson continued.

Those identified as a close contact of an infected student will be contacted by the college’s tracing team.

Sophomore Katie O’Neil said she is satisfied with how the college has handled the cluster of cases.

“I think it was bound to happen but they’re doing a really good job of taking care of it,” she said.

The college remains open and classes are still on schedule.

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